This is a super amazing flavored Assam tea. I like my Assams malty and flavorful without much if any astringency. I control the later by keeping my steep time under 2:30 minutes. I have tried many Assams and some are great and some not so. This one has a variety of flavor notes… yams is perhaps the strongest, chocolate and plum, giving a nice sweet finish. This is one of the best Assams I’ve tasted from the 2012 harvests.
115 Tasting Notes
Note: Their website currently calls this just “Hao Ya A” but when I got the package of it, it is labeled “Guangxi Hao Ya A.” It’s description is that it is their highest quality of Keemun.
A good Keemun is one of my favorite black teas. But I am very particular about my Keemuns. I have sampled many supplier’s Keemuns, from standard grades on up thru 2nd and 1st grades, to Hao Ya A and B grades. I find that while high grades typically look more refined and have a more uniform leaf size, usually a small size, it doesn’t mean their flavor is always superior in my opinion.
A really good Keemun has that unique flavoring of a hint of smokiness mixed with pine/oak nuances and some hints of fruit notes, followed by some notes of chocolate. It’s hard to describe but once you take a good one, I find it not replicated in any other tea.
I pit this particular Keemun Hao Ya A against 3 other Keemuns I found enjoyable from previous samplings in a blind taste test which I and my wife took part in. I equalized all the parameters, side-by-side cups of equal size, same hot water source, equal steep timing, equal sweetener (sugar, I’m not a hard-core tea drinker of black teas who omits sweeteners). This tea came out as our number 1 pick of the 4 Keemuns. It’s leaf quality was not notch and it’s flavor profile was really very good. This is one I could recommend fully to those who love a really good cup of Keemun.
Included this in a taste test with 4 other assam teas I have. This one came out #3 of the 5, ahead of SpecialTeas Rembeng and Adagio Assam Melody, but behind TeaSource’s Panatola and Ramanugger assam teas. I drink my assams black with sweetener. I steep them 2-2 1/2 minutes to keep astringency away. This is a very good Assam tea.
Did a taste test today with this tea plus 4 other assam teas. This was my first try of this tea from their sampler 4-pack. This one came out #5 behind TeaSource’s Panatola and Ramanugger, InfusionOfTeas Halmari and SpecialTeas Rembeng. This one has a rather noticeable yam flavor note in it. Since I like yams I wasn’t sure if this was a positive or negative. I decided it was out of balance compared to what I like in a good Assam so it pushed it down the ranking. The brew was lighter more yellow than the others darker more amber coloring. I drink this black but with sweetener. I would not order up this one given the other excellent assams I have found out there.
Did a taste test today with this tea plus 4 other assam teas. This one came out #2 behind TeaSource’s Panatola but ahead of InfusionOfTeas Halmari, SpecialTeas Rembeng and Adagio’s Melody. This is a good assam tea, with a nice malty smooth flavor with no noticeable astringency. I drink it black but with sweetener.
Did a taste test today with this tea plus 4 other assam teas. This one came out #1 ahead of TeaSource’s Ramanugger, InfusionOfTeas Halmari, SpecialTeas Rembeng and Adagio’s Melody. This is an excellent assam tea, with malty and caramel notes and smooth flavor without the astringency. I drink it black but with sweetener. I haven’t seen this one on the TeaSource.com web site in some time so I’m not sure if they will ever get it back in. A great Assam if they ever get it in again!
Did a taste test today with the last I have of this tea plus 4 other assam teas. This one came out #4 behind TeaSource’s Panatola, Ramanugger and InfusionOfTeas Halmari. Still a good assam but I think the age had it’s affect and it’s flavor was a little duller and did have a tad bit of astringency probably because I steeped it a tad beyond what I should have.
Visited the Tea Zone in Portland yesterday and asked about any new teas of the owner. He stated they had some new Assam teas in that were not yet on the menu list. Great I thought! I asked for a malty one and he suggested this one. It comes in organic and non-organic, yet he states that their flavor profile is quite different between them because they are grown in different areas.
I tried this tea at my brunch there yesterday and liked the tea so much I bought some to take home with me. The leaf is very dark, virtually a black leaf. There are no tips in it at all. The leaf is cut but offers large chunks 1/4"+ in length. The brew is golden brown and reveals a bold flavoring. It has the malty flavoring but also has a bit of a yummy sweet potato flavoring along with other notes I can’t quite put a finger on. It’s a complex but delicious flavor. I’m really enjoying this as it’s yet another addition to my Assam collection that is different from my other tippy and malty Assams.
Got a sampler of this yesterday and had to try it. I love Yunnan teas and also a good malty Assam. Well this tea attempts to blend both of these together and does so very well. I had never thought of combining a Chinese tea with an Indian tea but given the peppery flavor of a yunnan and a malty flavor of a good assam, this is really a winner. The resultling combination is really yummy. I think the Yunnan flavoring is slightly stronger in this than the Assam. I had forgotten the description of the tea since ordering it. Most blends involve Assam tea and given they come from India, Himalayan grown teas are usually more similar to Assams. So I was expecting this to be like an Assam. However when I smelled the aroma of the tea I was surprised to find it being more like a Yunnan. I sampled the taste and had the same reaction. It was good. I then went and looked up the description and then remembered why I had chosen it. Now I wished I had gotten a whole bag of it. This is going to go on my order list for next time.
This is my after-lunch tea today and it’s not tasting good to me. I may have put a bit too much leaf in my mug but it’s tasting like bleh! The muscatel is hard to find in amongst the rest of it. It could be dried lawn leaves for all I know. I’m not sure I’ll finish this. I liked it ok the last time I had it, but not this time.
Today’s brew of this is tasting especially good to me. I think some times the planets align and the factors for the steeping turn out perfect, right amount of each parameter… temp, time, qty, sweetner… and you get a great cup of tea! This malty brew is strong but at 2 minutes and a few, it’s not astringent. It has some earthy notes in this as well as some sweet potato. The lingering aftertaste is just mmmmm good.
Trying a sampler of this oolong tea. The dry leaf has a floral aroma that carries on into the steeped brew. It’s not a strong aroma but more subtle but noticeable. The flavor is floral and sweet with some hints of fruitiness. It’s a light brew almost like a green tea. The second steep was just as good with no noticeable weakening. The leaves had not even completed their un-furling of their crinkled blobs after the first cup. I enjoyed this one.
Enjoying this tea after lunch. It’s a bold solid assam with a nice malty finish. The aroma is even nice, not something many assam teas can boast. I drink it black with some sweetener.
Trying this once again and finding it too strong and at 2:15 steep time it does have some very noticeable astringency in it. I am realizing I’m putting too much leaf in my brew or this tea really does need some dairy to tame it down. I’m not enjoying this very much. Rating is going down some more as a result.
This darjeeling is truly a quality 2nd flush. I prefer the 2nd flush over the 1st as I prefer more oxidized teas over the less oxidized varieties. The leaf is dark green, brown and black mix with long twisted-curled leaves. The brew is a robust floral and fragrant muscatel flavoring that is pleasing without being overpowering. It has a freshness to the taste with some notes of honey sweetness. This is one of my favorites when it comes to darjeeling 2nd flush. If you love a 2F darjeeling give this one a try.
Visited the Tao of Tea shop yesterday and among my purchases was this oolong tea. I asked the attendant for one that has a “buttery” flavor. First pick was the Ali Shan but they were out so this was the next best option. I picked up a can. To keep freshness, each of the two ounces in the beautiful tin was shrink-wrapped.
The leaf of this tea are tightly curled and a dark forest green in color with some lighter yellow-green color showing in places. The aroma of the dry leaf did indeed have the buttery flavoring, but it was not strong.
I steeped the leaf in about 185 degree water for 3 minutes. It came out a pale yellow with a hint of green to it. The aroma of the brew was wonderful. The flavor of the brew is equally wonderful with a smooth buttery flavor that is not overpowering. This is a great evening tea. I’m enjoying my 2nd steeping and I believe I will get another one easily, maybe more from this quality tea.
Friends I was with stopped at Peet’s after lunch today. I wanted to try this Keemun and took the opportunity. The person preparing it for you puts the leaves into a T-Sac and adds the hot water and hands it to you, telling you to remove the leaves after 5 minutes. Ha! I thought to myself. I steep most if not all black teas no more than 3 minutes to avoid bitterness, if a tea is to have any. So I removed the T-Sac after about 3. The brew has a mild version of the “keemun” flavoring, the hint of smokiness and pine, but is not very distinct. I found this to be an ok tea but I’m not sure I’d ever spend the money for a can of this tea. If you like the “keemun” flavoring like I do, there are some fantastic Keemuns out there.
I’m sipping this tea today and also had it yesterday morning. This tea is really good. Being from the Fujian province of China, It’s not a Yunnan golden tea but has similarities. It’s a golden monkey that is very smooth and delicious. The aroma of the dry leaf is as chocolatey as I’ve ever found in any natural tea. It carries through into the brew as well. The caramel and chocolate notes present along with some fruity notes and maybe some honey notes make this tea really pleasurable. I highly recommend it!
This is my afternoon tea today. I have to say each time I try this it seems to taste better to me. Today it tasted better than I remember and I have bumped up the rating even higher.
The appearance of the dry leaf of this tea is nice with black and gold tips mixed in. After steeping 2 minutes, the flavor is smooth with no noticeable astringency. It is sweet and malty with fruit notes, offering a kind of caramel flavor about it. Yes I am seeing why this won an award. It is yummy! It’s gray outside but this tea is brightening things up inside.
I love a good Keemun tea. This usually means a high grade variety such as a Hao Ya “A” or “B” grade. A good Keemun has a flavor profile that I don’t find in any other tea that is unique enough I personally refer to it as the “Keemun” flavor. It’s a mix of dark chocolate, smokey, piney, oakey, and earthy notes as best I can describe it. I have found over the years that there are other Keemuns out there that have this flavoring (more or less) and are excellent Keemuns deserving of the name.
I’m a fan of the TeaSource.com which I have no connection with other than a happy customer. The owner shops for his teas personally and picks good ones most of the time. “Good” is subjective hence I say “most”. Their Keemuns are no exception. They carry several (when fully stocked), such as the best Hao Ya “B” I’ve ever tried. But this one is one of several Keemuns from there that are worth mentioning. Besides their Hao Ya “A” and “B” grades, I have tried their Grand Keemun and now this Yi Ji Keemun.
The tea leaf of this Yi Ji is nearly on a par with a Hao Ya A grade. I would say it’s the A grade quality without the price of it. It is small tight consistent black leaf that is very nice quality with a pleasing aroma with dark chocolate notes noted from the bag. I steeped it 3 minutes at near boiling. The brew is dark and bold. On a scale of 1-10 for having the “Keemun” flavor profile, I’d say it’s an 8 or maybe 9. It’s a great value Keemun, with the only thing lacking in this excellent Keemun is maybe a shade less of the light smokiness of a good Keemun. When I say “smokey” don’t think Lapsang Souchong or Russian Caravan. It’s a very pleasing hint of smokey with a oaky/piney flavor that is wonderful! So again, this tea has a shade less of that but it’s still a really great Keemun, well worth the price! This tea has a smooth flavor bold enough for milk but I take it black so as not to mask the Keemun flavor too much. I don’t detect any astringency even at 3 minutes and it’s a tea I love.
This morning’s golden sunshine requires a golden Yunnan tea! So this is the one. It’s a robust yummy Yunnan with golden flavors that make your taste buds burst forth with life!!
Oh… ok I’ll calm down.
This is a great evening tea. It’s hardly oxidized so very low caffeine content. It’s leaf is from the tips of the plant and is a downy light weight leaf. I like to refer to these type of white teas as “fluffy” teas. I use a scales to weigh out the proper amount as using a spoon and the volume it fills doesn’t work so good with fluffy teas. The leaf of this one is light greenish brown and has a soft texture. I steeped 2 minutes at a reduced temp of 165 degrees F.
This tea steeps up a pale yellow. The brew being a white is subtle to begin with. I did not add anything to this brew wanting to enjoy the full flavor it offers. Its taste is slightly nutty with hints of smokiness and a little roasty, with some honey notes tossed in. It’s a great white tea. I was able to steep a second time with no problem, adding about another minute the second time. The leaf opened up even further the 2nd time. I find this one a great tea to wind down with after a long day.
The last few times I have tried this tea have been excellent. Not sure what has changed from the first few tries I had from the same package. The flavor of this is bold but smooth, sweet with fruity notes and a nice maltiness that lingers on. It’s a very good cup today and I’m enjoying this very much. Therefore I have raised my rating on this tea. It’s a very good assam and has me wondering if I shouldn’t try to get some more of this same batch!